JUNE 2024: A LONG AND WINDING ROAD LED A SON TO HIS LATE FATHER’S 1975 PONTIAC GRAND LEMANS

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Travis Simon is the latest owner of a 1975 Pontiac Grand LeMans once owned by his late father, Jim.

Jim Simon bought the car in the early 1990s and owned it for several years until his untimely death at 48 in 2006. His son Travis was just a kid when Jim bought the ’75 Pontiac, but the car made a big impression upon Travis because his dad Jim loved the car.

Travis, sister Rachel, father Jim

Jim’s passing occurred when Travis was barely out of his teens and unable to keep the car in the family because the Pontiac was used as collateral in a complicated bank transaction. The banker was unwilling to separate the car from other property in his late father’s loan agreement, so Travis had to let the car get sold to another owner.

Travis reflected back on the bank sale and concluded he would have trashed the ’75 Pontiac because of his young age at the time. Nevertheless, Travis hoped that one day he would be able to buy back his dad’s car and the memories that came with it.  

The years moved on, but Travis continued his search for his father’s car. Occasionally the sporty ’75 Pontiac reappeared in various buy/sell online publications, but Travis was unable to purchase the car because somebody beat him to the punch-or the price was too high for him because he was a young family man with other responsibilities.

Travis was happy to learn his father’s car had avoided a gruesome meeting with a crusher, but he was also frustrated because the Pontiac was still owned by somebody other than him. It was simply a cool car to the other owners, but it was a precious family heirloom to Travis because it was his late father’s car.

The hit-and-miss process continued into September 2023 when Travis discovered his dad’s Pontiac in yet another online buy/sell publication. He was now in a position where he could afford the car, so the only complication was to get an opportunity to buy it from its then-current owner. Once again, Travis felt the frustration of being so close to repurchasing his father’s ’75 Pontiac-only to have the door slammed in his face when it was sold to somebody else.

However, the car reappeared on another online buy/sell site this past Easter weekend and Travis was able to verify the ’75 Pontiac was indeed his father’s because it still had the original documentation, including a sticker from a 1997 car show with his dad’s signature on it.

This time Travis was able to convince its former owner to hold onto the car until he came the next day and bought it. “Fate brought me to the car”, in Travis’s words, and this time he was able to bring the car back into his family.

The car had not been run in many years, but that fact did not deter Travis from driving it 60 miles back home because he wanted to take his trip down memory lane as soon as possible.

The future is bright for Travis’s 1975 Pontiac Grand Le Mans because he intends to drive it while mapping out the car’s restoration plan. Travis wants to return the car to the way it looked when his dad drove it, including his father’s mag wheel choice.

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section. 

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